Not many political novices may know this but back in 2002, Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate was the part of a coalition government led by Manohar Parrikar. For his support to the Parrikar-led government Babush was given the Town and Country Planning (TCP) portfolio. This was the first and the last time Monserrate and Parrikar were a part of the same ruling government.
In 2000, Parrikar withdrew BJP’s support to Francisco Sardinha-led government. He later managed to cobble up a coalition government using many Congress Party defectors. That year he became the first BJP Chief Minister of Goa.
Fast forward 16 months
The year was 2002, rumour in political circles began that a large number of MLAs in the coalition government were planning to defect to Congress and form an alternate government. Ending Parrikar’s term short. To counter this, Parrikar choose to desolve the assembly and called for elections.
BJP emerged the single largest Party with 17 seats after the 2002 assembly elections. Congress won 16 seats. Parrikar formed the second coalition government of his career. That government included Monserrate.
Babush had won the Taleigao seat under the UGDP (United Goans Democratic Party) banner and was also a first time MLA. His support to Parrikar was very crucial. He was made the TCP minister.
However the coalition did not last long. Soon a rebellion broke out. BJP government was brought down when MLAs from the ruling coalition left the party and contested by-polls. Of the five seats that went for by-polls, four were won by Congress-NCP alliance. Monserrate got himself elected on a Congress ticket.
After that Babush experienced tremendous growth in his political career. Parrikar remained in the opposition then.
Panaji seat game fixing?
It is alleged that Babush and Parrikar always had an understanding. There are allegations that Parrikar managed to win Panaji in 2007 because he was covertly supported by Monserrate. In fact Dinar Tarcar had almost snatched victory from the saffron camp but Monserrate helped tilt it in Parrikar’s favour.
The favour was returned by Parrikar in 2012 when it is alleged that Babush was covertly helped by the BJP in winning the Santa Cruz seat.
2015: Babush openly supports the BJP candidate
The 2015 Panaji by-polls represented a high in Parrikar-Babush relationship. This time Babush openly supported BJP’s Siddharth Kuncolienkar even though he was a Congress MLA. For this Monserrate paid when he was expelled from the Congress party.
Downturn in the relationship
Monserrate was accused and arrested for raping a minor in May of 2016. After he got out of jail, he had said this case was politically motivated. Later, he made his intention to contest from Panaji in the upcoming assembly elections clear. He even asked Parrikar to come back from the center to fight Panaji polls against him.
Even though Monserrate lost, victory came at a small margin for the BJP. This confirmed that Babush was still a formidable opponent. It is banking on that fact, the Congress approached Monserrate to contest against Parrikar.
It seems Babush’s wish to fight Parrikar in an election will finally come true.
Read More: Babush Monseratte To Fight On Congress Ticket From Panaji, Says Confident Of Defeating CM Parrikar
Read More: Babush Vs Parrikar In Panaji Constituency
Image credit: OHeraldO